Ben Roethlisberger retired from the Steelers and the NFL after the 2021 season but the QB claims one team was calling during the 2022 campaign.
Before hanging up his cleats after the 2021 season, Ben Roethlisberger spent his entire 18-season career with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the team that selected him 11th overall in the 2004 NFL Draft. But apparently another NFL team tried to change the quarterback’s resumé by luring him out of retirement in the 2022 campaign.
During an interview with Mark Madden of 105.9 The X in Pittsburgh, Roethlisberger revealed that the San Francisco 49ers were in contact with the longtime Steelers quarterback during the 2022 season with an interest in bringing him in to help their injury-ravaged quarterback room.
“They were, I think, reaching out maybe just to gauge my interest. I had discussions,” Roethlisberger said, via SteelersNow.com. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a small part of me that was intrigued. I could still do it and prove to people that I could still play. At the end of the day, I just can’t see myself in anything other than black and gold.”
NFL rumors: Ben Roethlisberger claims 49ers tried to lure Steelers QB from retiriement
So Roethlisberger’s loyalty to the Steelers — assuming that the 49ers did actually have conversations with the future Hall-of-Famer last year — ultimately kept him from signing with San Francisco. That’s quite interesting, especially given the eventual emergence of Brock Purdy as a cult hero that led the team to the NFC Championship Game before being injured himself.
It’s not shocking, though, that the 49ers were exploring all options, especially before they knew that Purdy could deliver. After losing both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo to injuries, they had to look at it as only having a rookie Mr. Irrelevant as an option, which meant then leaving no stone unturned.
At the same time, though, Roethlisberger was much maligned over his final season. Despite throwing a wild 605 passing attempts, he still only threw for 3,740 yards and 22 touchdowns. He was a check-down king who looked a shell of his former self. The Steelers went 9-7 on the year.
Even still, it’s a wild nugget to consider. And you have to wonder, if Big Ben had ended up in San Francisco, would they have a stood a chance at upending the Eagles in the ill-fated conference championship tilt? We’ll never know, but it’s fun to imagine.